Study identifies economic value of Salem College in North Carolina

Study identifies economic value of Salem College in North Carolina

February 25, 2015
photo of Salem College's Main Hall with Home Moravian Church spire in the background

A comprehensive analysis of the economic impact of higher education in North Carolina has found that Salem College in Winston-Salem created $59.4 million of added economic value during the 2012-13 fiscal year. 

Overall, the public and private colleges and universities had an impact of $63.5 billion in the state, including payroll, operations, the purchase of goods and services, start-up companies, and spending generated by students and alumni.

“We are grateful to the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities for supporting a study that elevates the economic power of higher education. We are fortunate to live in the state of North Carolina, in which high-school students have many exceptional options as they pursue higher education. This alone offers greater professional opportunities for more young adults, who in turn contribute to the future economic strength of North Carolina,” said Dr. D. E. Lorraine Sterritt, president of Salem Academy and College.

Salem Academy and College was founded in 1772 and is the oldest continuously operating educational institution for women in the nation, making the College the oldest in North Carolina. At the start of the 2014-15 academic year, the College broke enrollment records when it welcomed the largest incoming class of first-year students. Recent growth has necessitated several expansion projects on the Salem campus, including a new student center that opened in May 2014 and a new College residence that will open in the fall of 2015. In December 2014, the College also announced a $60 million campaign, which includes a new science building. The student body in the College is made up of more than 1,100 students.

“We treasure our on-going collaborations with other schools in our immediate area, and we believe that our partnerships with local businesses contribute to Salem’s overall economic impact, locally, nationally, and internationally,” Sterritt added.

The study was commissioned by the University of North Carolina system, the North Carolina Community College System and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU), and conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI).  It is the first-ever multi-sector analysis of higher education’s impact on the state’s economy and one of the most comprehensive reports of its kind ever done for a single state.  Data and assumptions used are based on 2012-13 academic and financial reports from the higher education institutions, industry, and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, and additional sources.

The 36 campuses of NCICU, which together enroll almost 90,000 students from around the world, generated a combined $14.2 billion in added state income.  This includes more than $4 billion on payroll and benefits for 66,309 full-time and part-time employees and $6.8 billion on goods and services to carry out their day-to-day operations, research, and clinical activities. The rest comes from construction and the spending of their students, visitors, start-up companies, and alumni, which in turn creates more spending and employment across the state.  The added state income, or ad­ditional Gross State Product, of $14.2 billion created by NCICU’s institutions is equal to approximately 3.2% of the total Gross State Product of North Carolina, and is equivalent to creating 219,590 new jobs.

The full report and NCICU sector report are available at The study was funded by the North Carolina Business Higher Ed Foundation, the NC Community Colleges Foundation, the University of North Carolina system, and NCICU campuses, including Salem College.